Time to embrace the European Super League, says Johnny Nich. Then build something better once the ‘elite’ have gone.
Look at the Premier League table. The Big Six are the top six. Order is restored. Everything is as it should be. The top three have collectively lost two fewer games than the side in fourth. Since the Premier League arrived, drunk and with money falling out of its pockets, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United have won 28 of 30 league titles and 26 of 30 FA Cups. This is the status quo. All hail the elite.
So why the objection to the European Super League? All it does is put the elite in one place. They’re already the elite. We just make them play each other, ad infinitum, and the rest of us can get on with our lives. Is that so bad?
If the Big Six were in the ESL West Ham would be fighting it out with Wolves for the league title, except they probably wouldn’t be because everyone would have more of a chance to win more games and the order of the division would be quite different. The league would be less like a pyramid with a sharp point and more like an orange. It would be super competitive, more like the Championship, where anyone really can beat anyone else.
Why is that not better than what we’ve got now?
And we know that those six club owners want an ESL. Of course they do. It makes business sense to them. They will make more profit and that is all that matters. They know that plenty of the fanbase would be happy enough to be playing some big European teams every week and even those who aren’t would get used to it. Football fans can get used to anything, will put up with anything, will pay for anything. Football fans are mugs. Look at what they already tolerate.
We already know that many fans of clubs are easy to buy off. If they weren’t we wouldn’t be where we are. Fans have welcomed murderous regimes as owners into their clubs, they have welcomed anyone with money, no matter how steeped in sin they are. And you’re telling me that selling them an ESL will be a hard sell? Yer jokin’ aren’t ya? This mob will swallow anything to win a few games of football.
In the last 30 years the Premier League has, like the broader economics of society, transformed happiness from being an existential quality into a transactional one: we buy feeling good. In football this is best illustrated by transfer culture which is basically more shopping than football. Only it never makes anyone happy, or not for long. Nor does paying ever more for tickets on the basis you’re watching elite entertainment. But even so, it is the only reality many know and the European Super League is the biggest football shopping mall on earth, what’s more it is only for the elite and we bloody love the elite. We even love just saying the word, elite.
Inside you’ll find all the big designer brands who are reassuringly expensive. Yes you pay top dollar but, hey, you want the elite, you pay elite money, right? It makes you feel good. This is where the elite love to be, alongside their other beautiful elite friends, looking elite good, smelling elite great, away from the povs and reminders of their own moral vacuity. This is the direction society has gone in, so why would football be any different? These owners are not stupid. They know where the path to ever bigger money is on the map and they will take it.
There is no point in fighting it. OK so we won’t see Spurs be sh*te at home to Brighton, we’ll see them be shite at home to Inter Milan instead. It’s all the same really. The European Super League notion accepts that we live in a greedy, selfish world dominated by a small number of people who have almost all the money. The whole thing is set up to fellate that elite and to glory in that fact. And let’s face it, that is the reality we accept every day of the week in our non-football life, don’t we? We are not fomenting revolution against our landed and monied overlords who have pushed so many into poverty, are we?
If we were really against the elite bossing us, we’d be in the streets, we’d be in Downing Street, dragging people out by their feet and putting them on a meat hook, we’d be on the roof of the public school with Malcolm McDowell mowing the bastards down. But, no, we’re happy enough with being bossed by born-to-rule half wits with posh accents and their lackeys and we hate the gobby jumped-up working class, even though they might have a better, more egalitarian outlook. We don’t want that. We want to be told what to do, then be able to moan about it, then vote for it again. We love the elite, that’s why we say the word elite so much. Maybe it makes us feel elite to do so.
So why wouldn’t we support the ESL? It fits in perfectly with how we live life already, with what we tolerate, with what we vote for, with what we celebrate and promulgate. There’s the top dogs and there’s the rest. The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them, high or lowly and ordered their estate. That’s the nature of modern life and if it doesn’t look bright and beautiful to you, you’re just not drinking enough of the elite kool-aid.
There are the elite clubs at the top and then the rest of us living off the fumes from their p*ss. We’ve been told it is the natural order of things for so long that it has become the natural order of things.
After all, we keep electing elite people who keep kicking us in the face in the hope that this time it’ll be someone we hate who gets kicked in the face, not us, even though those we think we hate have been sold to us as hate figures by the elite as a deliberate part of a divide and rule policy.
The prevailing culture suggests that hanging onto quaint concepts such as club history and club culture and civic pride are for the slow witted and the old fashioned. Get with the programme. This is the world we voted for, this is the world we made happen with our choices, so stop resisting the inevitable. We could’ve made a different world but we didn’t. We’ve doffed our caps and tugged our forelocks for so long now that we know no other way. The elite gets what they want, that’s how it works, so shut up and let the elite clubs have what they want. We’re not going to protest, not really, we never do. We make excuses, we lie to ourselves, we tell each other how loyal we are, how badly done to we are, but then we carry on as normal, shovelling money and power into the hands of the same elite, the same clubs and the wheel keeps turning.
No-one ‘saved the Premier League’ as the Chelsea fan’s banner had it, we just got confused about our role in this psychodrama. So don’t just wait for it to happen, let’s call for the start of the ESL now, not to do so is against modernity, is against elitism, is against the very nature of life in 2022. What are we holding out for? We should be embracing this brave new world, telling them to get on with it and quickly, not hanging on to the old one out of nostalgia or out of belief in some sort of alternative narrative which imagines the elite will stop being the elite.
Because maybe, just maybe, when we have put the elite clubs behind the velvet rope in the VIP lounge, we can get on making something much, much better without them.